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Old 10-16-2006, 12:09 PM   #1
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Default Electrical Issue 94 Bonneville SSE

Hello -

I bought a 94 SSE a few months back, I've been very pleased with it. Approx. 110K miles, runs great, outstanding MPG, burns little oil. Did the 180 thermostat mod, runs even better.

Last Thursday I was driving home, tapped the brakes, and the dash went dead, which is to say the oil, volt, temp dropped to 0, and the compass, HUD and vehicle diagnostic all went dark. Then they all came back on after going through the same startup routine that happens when the car is started.

On that trip it didn't happen again (but has happened on other occasions).... but tapping on the brakes would/does cause all the gauges to noticeably jitter. At first I thought there was something in the brake light circuit drawing too much current, but then noticed that I could replicate the behavior via using the power windows.

The previous owner had seen the same behavior, and believed the problem to be related to the connection between the battery and the alternator (He cleaned those connections up and the problem went away).

I've looked over his work and it all looks good to me, although since he was able to make the issue go away by working in that area, I'll probably disassemble, clean and tighten all the battery/alternator connections just to be sure.

The only other info I have is that the voltmeter is reading a bit lower than it did before this started happening (approx 12 vs. 14), which if accurate would tend to make me think the problem is indeed somewhere between the alternator and battery.

I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions for other areas to check. I seem to recall reading a post or two in this forum about a bad ground strap somewhere, but I can't seem to relocate the post.

Anyway, great forum, and thanks in advance for any tips.

Matt
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:19 PM   #2
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It sounds like the Alternator is dying. Just to make sure it is or not, Pull it off and have it tested somewhere like Autozone.
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bonneville94V688
It sounds like the Alternator is dying. Just to make sure it is or not, Pull it off and have it tested somewhere like Autozone.
If the alternator is dying..I would assume the dash would come back once he is off the brakes.

The ground buss you are looking for is located on top of the wiring loom right at the driver and passenger side footwells. Right at the door frame.
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:34 PM   #4
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Moving to Electrical..
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:43 PM   #5
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I am guessing that the ABS pump kicks on as soon as the brake pedal is touched; which in turns pulls some good amperage - I am thinking dead alternator but do check all of the ground connections like BillBoost37 metioned
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:43 PM   #6
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Pics of the buss connection, per request:

Driver'* side buss location:
Name:  DSC00977.jpg
Views: 5
Size:  52.3 KB

And a corroded buss connector:
Name:  connector.jpg
Views: 4
Size:  50.0 KB
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Old 10-16-2006, 01:23 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone.... I'll check the connectors, and then have the alternator tested if need be. Will post back with the results - also, apologies for posting in the wrong forum.

Thanks again -
Matt
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:02 PM   #8
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Matt... we give you plenty of understanding being new.

Personally..I'd check the alternator first because of how easy it comes off the car.
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Old 10-20-2006, 02:33 AM   #9
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Well all - turns out it was the connections between the alternator and battey terminal. Cleaned up the wires, tightened all lug connectors .. and viola.

The oil gauge even seems to register a bit higher than before.


Thanks for all the tips.

Matt
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